What We Do

What Is Source Water?

Source water refers to sources of water (such as rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and groundwater) that provide water to public drinking water supplies and private wells.

Why Protect Source Water?

Protecting source water can reduce risks by preventing exposures to contaminated water. Drinking water utilities that meet the definition of a public water system are responsible for meeting the requirements of EPA and state drinking water programs under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Protecting source water from contamination helps reduce treatment costs and may avoid or defer the need for complex treatment.

There are many additional benefits associated with source water protection, such as protecting water quality for wildlife and recreational use and protecting the availability and quantity of water supplies.

We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.

Jacques Yves Cousteau

Education and Outreach Services 

The Beaver Watershed Alliance conducts a wide variety of programming ranging from awareness and education activities, conservation and stewardship-in-action programming, to technical workshops designed to engage, increase, and empower watershed stakeholders to carry out voluntary watershed protection measures. In fact, the Alliance has a program for almost all stakeholders, and water quality issues and topics. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, check out our program links below.

Beaver Lake Watershed Annual Symposium
Beaver Lake and its tributaries are interconnected with the regional landscape of Northwest Arkansas. Landowners, universities, scientist, government agencies, utilities, conservation organizations and water quality groups are working in collaboration to achieve conservation objectives. The Annual Symposium aims to bring educational awareness on technical topics, highlight the efforts and results achieved in the Beaver Lake watershed and open a dialogue for stakeholders.
Quarterly Speaker Series
A major component of the Beaver Watershed Alliance effort (Alliance) is to provide outreach and education programming necessary to provide residents of Northwest Arkansas with the tools necessary to help protect Beaver Lake. Increasing population growth and development are likely going to occur at a rapid pace over the next few decades, and how we meet these new opportunities and associated demands will have an impact on our drinking water supply. Sediment and phosphorus are currently the two pollutants of highest concern with regard to the quality and cost of our drinking water.

The Beaver Watershed Alliance is working with local governments and other nonprofits to reduce the amount of sediment entering streams, improve fish habitat, and reduce flooding – an essential service to local communities. Because Beaver Lake supplies 1 in 6 Arkansans (nearly a half-million people) with clean drinking water and provides over forty million tourism and recreation dollars for the local economy, the Alliance developed this quarterly speaker series to share the rationale behind investing in watershed protection that will benefit the future of our entire region.

Land Management Practice Workshops (Forest, Streamside, Urban, Agriculture)

Land Management Practices are voluntary actions you can take on your property, no matter how big or small of acreage you have. The Alliance staff and partners specialize in Forestry, Ecology, Streamside Management, Urban Landscapes, and Agriculture and can bring subject expertise through public workshops, and share online, in-person, and in the field. These focused workshops are intended to bring solutions to the table and guide landowners, cities, and counties through the process of implementation. The Alliance is in place to assist from start to finish!

Check out the calendar for a list of upcoming Land Management Practices Workshops.

Outdoor Watershed Education and Recreation
Youth engagement in the outdoors is now more important than ever. There is a unique connection between nature, human impacts, ecology and water resources for all living things. The Alliance engages youth groups through paddling experiences on the White River, teaches stewardship through stream and waterway cleanups, and increases awareness about Beaver Lake and its watershed through group presentations. If your club or youth group would like to engage in outdoor stewardship or learn more about Source Water Protection and watershed work, contact the Alliance to learn more.
Lakes Appreciation Month
Over the past decade, Governor Asa Hutchinson has proclaimed July as Lakes Appreciation Month in Arkansas. With over a half-million acres of reservoirs in Arkansas, summer is a great time to encourage all Arkansans to appreciate the lakes of our Natural State by participating in recreational activities such as swimming and boating, taking care of lakes, and enjoying the scenic beauty and benefits provided by them – including drinking water for much of the state.

In addition to Lakes Appreciation Month being a time to appreciate lakes, it is a time to think about where we would be without their water, and the threats facing lakes and reservoirs. These threats include impacts of population growth, development, and invasive plant and animal species that put stress on waterbodies. The importance of protecting these lakes and reservoirs for future generations is critical to our quality of life, communities, wildlife, and potential for future growth and economic development.

Lakes Appreciation Month is a signature program of the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) whose mission is to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs for today and tomorrow. Specific goals of the society are to promote public awareness of lake ecosystems, encourage public support for national, state, and local programs promoting management of lakes and their watershed, and facilitate the exchange of information on the technical and administrative aspects of managing lakes and their watersheds. To learn more about the national Lakes Appreciation program, visit www.nalms.org, and to learn more about the events taking place to appreciate Beaver Lake and its watershed this month, visit our website calendar in July.

Source Water Protection Awareness

Source Water Protection encompasses the land, water, people and resources that work together in concert to maintain high-quality drinking water for NWA, and beyond. The Alliance offers general presentations on water quality, watershed work, and conservation measures happening in Northwest Arkansas. We also develop resources in-house and share resources from local partners to assist in learning more about water quality, land management practices and conservation.

See our Resources page for Education Materials


The Beaver Watershed Alliance engages the community and invites volunteers to help tackle growing concerns in maintaining a healthy watershed. Stewardship opportunities include:

  • Creek and Lake Cleanups
  • Invasive Plant Removals
  • Riparian (Streamside) Plantings

Since 2011, volunteers have helped to give back to the region. Check out the achievements!

Stewardship activities typically take place on public lands, including parks, trails, and shorelines. Depending on programming, landowners can be eligible for riparian planting assistance. Need volunteer hours? The Alliance can develop a program to fit your needs to accomplish volunteer hour requirements. Contact us today!

Landowner Assistance Programs

The Alliance has specialized staff and strong partnerships to help landowners achieve conservation goals on their property. If you own or manage land in the Beaver Lake watershed area, our services include assisting you to develop a plan, exploring funding programs, and providing technical recommendations and assistance.

Technical Assistance Categories

Forestry Assistance

The Beaver Lake watershed is 68% forested. Forests are important for watershed health because they clean, infiltrate, filter and remove sediment and nutrients from rainwater runoff after storm events. They are also a part of a thriving industry in Arkansas and landowners are increasingly interested in making wise management decisions that benefit the triple bottom line of environmental health, economic benefit, and social well-being (through helping to maintain water quality of the region’s water supply).

Based on a grant-funded forestry assessment in 2014 and ongoing feedback, many owners of forested lands are struggling with diseased timber and declining forest health overall, while some are simply interested in learning more about the forest and various forest management approaches whether it be for wildlife habitat improvements, sustainable harvesting, controlled burning, conservation easements, or forest management plans.

Now being aware of landowner needs, Beaver Watershed Alliance works with local and state partners to help meet the conservation needs of forest landowners, which also helps to protect water quality and wildlife habitat. Keep in touch for forestry workshops and funding opportunities through our Enews or Calendar.

Contact the Alliance to set up a free site visit and received a free Site Assessment Plan to help chart your path to forestry management. 

Educational Resources:

  • BL Watershed is a Forest of Recognized Importance 
  • Arkansas Forestry Association 
  • Arkansas Dept of Ag – Forestry Division 
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services – Forestry Division 
Streamside Assistance
Over 2,800 miles of streams network and weave through the Beaver Lake watershed area. All waterways in this basin eventually end up in Beaver Lake, our drinking water source for half a million Arkansans. The Ozarks are full of a variety of types of surface waterways, from intermittent to ephemeral streams, springs to creeks to rivers, to our lakes – we have abundant water resources in the Northwest Arkansas region.

With these abundant water resources, comes challenges of streambanks eroding away and riparian loss. Riparians are the lands adjacent to waterways, which hold the soils in place and help stabilize streambanks. When they are removed or reduced in area, the consequences equal erosion, land loss, habitat loss and a host of other issues that are negative for water quality, including algae growth. Erosion is when soils are washed away, downstream. The buildup of sediments downstream are hard to reverse or repair, as they accumulate and create dead zones.

These challenges cause problems not only for landowners, but also for the entire region. Landowners lose valuable land and workable soils, drinking water treatment cost go up to treat excess sediment and nutrients, aquatic life declines due to loss of oxygen in muddy waters, to name a few.

The Alliance seeks to proactively prevent these issues before they worsen. If you live along a creek, stream, river or lake, our staff can assist in not only addressing the issues you may be having with erosion, but also help look at preventable measures you can take to ensure your streamside properties are intact for years to come. Contact the Alliance for a free site visit.

Streamside Resources:

  • Watershed Conservation Resource Center
  • Riparian Guide for the Ozarks
  • Streamside Permits
  • Add more…
Urban/Residential Lot Assistance

Northwest Arkansas is the 6th fastest growing metropolitan area in the country (verify). The Ozarks is quicky becoming a destination for visitors and those looking to call it home. As urban development increases, and more roofs, parking lots and roads are built, there are rain runoff challenges that come with it. Northwest Arkansas has the opportunity to engage in SmartGrowth, a term coined to provide frameworks that allow for development and water quality to work in tandem.

As a homeowner, apartment dweller, renter, or developer, you have options available to address water runoff on your property. There are voluntary landscape practices you can install to reduce flooding, reduce erosion and redirect water to where it needs to go, in the ground.

Through Site Assessment Plans for residents and developers, and Comprehensive Management Plans for communities, the Alliance provides technical assistance to help address urban water challenges.

Resources for Urban/Residential Properties

  • Native Plant guide
  • Rain Gardens
  • Bioswales
  • Green Parking Lots
  • Development Fact Sheet
  • Rain Harvesting
  • Low Impact Development Manual
  • Add more….
Agricultural/Pasture Lands Assistance

Agriculture is Arkansas’ largest industry, adding around $16 billion to the state’s economy annually (AR Farm Bureau). Pasturelands play an important role in the Ag economy, and farmers have the opportunity to help improve water quality through land management techniques while gaining efficiencies and reducing costs.

When soil stays in the field, it not only provides better soil for crop production but also reduces sediment entering the water table. You can reduce erosion through cover crops, no-till, and crop rotations.

  • Enhanced management of the use of fertilizers and pesticides to keep them on the field or pasture can reduce costs as well as the potential for loss. Nutrient management is one of the best things you can do for water quality and your bottom line.
  • Infield practices like filter strips and riparian buffers can help reduce runoff, but filtering the runoff to remove sediment, chemicals, and waste can improve downstream water quality.
  • Preventing animal waste from entering water sources is a key way to protect water quality. This can be achieved through prescribed grazing, waste storage, and waste management. (Source Farmers.Org)

The Alliance works closely with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services, Farm Bureau, and state and federal programs to provide technical assistance to Agricultural producers. Contact us for a free Site Assessment Plan and technical assistance to aid you in selecting land management practices. Stay informed of upcoming workshops and funding opportunities by signing up for our Enews or attending an event.

Agricultural Resources

  • NRCS
  • FSA
  • Soil and Water Districts
  • Pasture Aeration
  • Nutrient Surplus Area map
  • UAEX Fact Sheets


The Alliance assists landowners financially through the Land Management Practice Mini-Grant Program. You must live in or manage land in the Beaver Lake watershed and have a Site Assessment Plan completed to apply.

County Soil and Water Conservation Districts

The County Soil and Water Conservation Districts are a Division of Arkansas government. The districts provide support for county residents making use of USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Services. They rent equipment, assist with implementing Nutrient Management Plans (NMPs), and offer other services. Find out more information about each county below:

Site Assessment Plans

A Site Assessment Plan (SAP) is a free resource provided to landowners in the Beaver Lake watershed to chart the path of conservation and land management. A staff member will visit your property with you, listen to your goals, and assess the land area using GIS technology and scientific data. The SAP can also be a starting point to apply for local funding programs to help cover the costs of installing, planting, repairing, or restoring your landscape.

Project Directory

The Alliance was formed in 2011, and since then, has worked with many local, state and federal partners to assess, research and implement on the ground projects to advance the Beaver Lake Watershed Protection Strategy. Planning and Analysis activities help provide a science-based approach to watershed management. A list of current and past projects can be found below.

Click any image for detailed project information.

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Water Quality Monitoring

The Beaver Watershed Alliance is committed to monitoring water quality and social indicators within the Beaver Watershed to measure resulting impacts and effectiveness of our education and conservation program efforts. Monitoring allows the Alliance to adaptively manage our efforts in order to achieve the best results possible when it comes to engaging the public and applying best management practices.

The Beaver Watershed Alliance is working to implement watershed-based outreach using the watershed approach to ensure community buy-in, prioritized best management application, and measurable watershed restoration impacts. To learn more about water quality monitoring and water quality within the watershed, check out the map below.

Water Quality Resources

Evaluating the Assessment

Methodology for the Cholophyll-A and Secchi Transparency Criteria at Beaver Lake, Arkansas. In order to provide scientific input into the assessment methodology and resulting measurement approach of numeric criteria established for Beaver Lake at Hickory Creek, Beaver Watershed Alliance commissioned the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and Arkansas Water Resources Center to review existing data and make recommendations for consideration in the assessment approach.

ADEQ Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report

Arkansas Integrated Water Quality Monitoring Assessment Report for Clean Water Act sections 305(b) and 303(d): These reports describe the status of Arkansas waters based on historical data on surface water quality and identifies Arkansas waters that are impaired.

Arkansas Water Resource Center (AWRC)

The mission of AWRC is to conduct water quality testing, train future scientists, and transfer water quality information to the public of Arkansas. The AWRC website hosts historic water quality reports and has information relating to water quality monitoring programs.

Beaver Water District (BWD)

Beaver Water District pulls and treats water from Beaver Lake and wholesales it to four customer cities. They also have an extensive monitoring program, including Secchi Day on Beaver Lake, a volunteer citizen-science event.

Ozarks Water Watch

StreamSmart is a program through which volunteer groups form teams and claim a stream location site within the Beaver Watershed to monitor several aspects of water quality throughout the year.

United States Geological Survey

A complete listing of USGS water quality monitoring studies including many that relate to the Boston Mountains and Springfield Plateau.